Missouri Mules

“The early descendants of the Mount Vernon stock-tall, drafty, and weighing between a thousand and 1,200 pounds-were initially called ‘American Mammoth’ mules, but the breed name gradually changed as the frontier moved west. In the 1820s, the most prized farm animals were called ‘Tennessee’ and then ‘Kentucky’ mules, because the frontier of Tennessee and Kentucky were where most of them were working and the best breeding lines were being established. By the 1840s the frontier had moved to Missouri and it was the ‘Missouri Mule’ that became the American archetype. Thousands of these tall, reliable draft animals—mostly bred from black Percheron mares—were produced every year to supply the burgeoning overland trail traffic. The rapid spread of the Missouri mule and the success of farmers at breeding them to meet each new demand were signature American achievements.”